HEADS ROLL AT Flagstaff House

Information reaching  DAILY GUIDE from the corridors of power says the President, John Mahama, is set for an ‘administrative restructuring’ of the flagstaff house to make it more potent; and several of the big names around him would be replaced.

The impending shakeup at the Presidency is said to be a prelude to a ministerial and cabinet reshuffle, originally scheduled for the last quarter of 2014, but was put on hold for unexplained reasons.

Already, the changes have led to the exit of the Executive Secretary to the President, Dr Raymond Atuguba, and more heads are expected to roll in the coming days.

Senior Communications Advisor to the President, Ben Dotsei Malor, is said to be one of the persons who would be affected by the shake-up, and publications in pro-government tabloids point to the exit of other top officials in the Mahama administration including Dr Kwesi Botchwey, chairman of the Ghana National Gas Company, who is said to have resigned from his position.

Dr Botchwey, a former Finance Minister, also doubles as the Chairman of the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) and it is not clear if he has also walked away from that portfolio.

Enquiries sent to government officials drew blank responses at press time, as they remain tightlipped.

Though not provenbeyond doubt, Ben Dotsei Malor is said to have recently expressed his frustrations at the style of handling communications related issues at the Presidency.

Mr Dotsei Malor, a highly respected BBC veteran broadcast journalist working with much-touted credentials, according to reports, has had strong misgivings about the administrative style of the Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Kweku Bani.

Indeed, even before the shake-up and circulation of the much dreaded ‘vacate your position’ letters, Dr Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary to the President, had tendered his resignation and reports said it was over a ‘role conflict’ between his job description and that of Mr Bani.

This was said to have sparked a continuous friction and strained working relationship between the two, eventually leading to the resignation of Dr Atuguba last week.

He was said to have earlier emptied his office ahead of his departure back to the University of Ghana Law Faculty, from where he was plucked to work for the Mahama administration.

The Office of the President has kept tight lips over the purported resignation of Dr Atuguba though the name of Ken Kandar has become popular on people’s lips as the next Executive Secretary to the President because of his diplomatic background.

Mr Kandar, a highly respected career diplomat, is Ghana’s Ambassador tothe United Nations in New York and formerly the Protocol Director at the Presidency during President John Evans Atta Mills’ era.

Alhaji Baba Kamara, Senior Presidential Advisor, is mentioned as one of the persons who would be affected by the shake-up, while others link him to the Chief of Staff position.

Alhaji Kamara was serving as Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria but swiftly abandoned post and returned to Ghana soon after the demise ofPresident Mills. On his return, he was seen as likely to be named as Chief of Staff, a position he was said be subtly readying himself for.

The position was however given to Mr Bani, a specialist in international peace-building and development processes with over 15 years work experience with the United Nations in several countries.

He has not been a popular choice among many who matter in the rulingNDC, with some publicly questioning his contribution to the party and track record in Ghanaian politics.

Since Bani’s appointment, the criticisms against him have continued and he is mostly said to be in his ‘United Nations mood’, rather than a mood to listen to the ‘groaning’ of party activists.

Quite recently, he came under some internal criticisms when he announced new promotions in the Customs Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS).

Some of the promotions were seen as placing subordinates over their superiors and it sparked uproar in the service.

Mr Bani has however been a long-time confidant of the President and the two have maintained long years of friendship.

In recent times, Mr Bani is seen more frequently around the President at Public events, a situation that did not pertain before the impending shake-up.

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